Freelance writing is one of those things that everyone believes they can do, but few are able to actually accomplish. Thanks to the Internet, there is a glut of people trying to make a living typing up web content every day. There are a few common traits successful writers possess have, that you should try to emulate in order to stand out in the market. Here are five of them:
Good Time Management Skills
Running a freelance writing practice is just like any other business. Time management skills are vital to running any enterprise, since deadlines are typically strict and short. Gain an understanding of how long it takes to accomplish certain tasks, and use that in providing an honest assessment for how long any given task will take. Do not overwork yourself, or the quality will suffer greatly.
The end goal of any freelancer is to grow enough to turn the side gig into a fully functioning business, and hire others to work under the freelancer. By understanding your time constraints, it is much easier to spot the moment when hiring someone makes fiscal sense.
A Strong Media Presence
A writer is only as good as his presence on the web. People will read articles written by recognizable personalities more readily than up comers. This may appear to be a chicken and the egg problem, until you notice that there are numerous sites on the web allowing people to post columns for free. Political sites such as DailyKos invites people to write for them, and the better written articles receive higher rankings. From here, you can build a portfolio that will entice other companies to give you a chance.
Concentrate on One Genre
A good writer offers his service in areas where he is an expert in. This decreases the amount of time it takes to compose a piece, and gives the article greater weight. Study hard on a subject and write frequently on it. Some people focus on politics, others economics… The trick is to find something that interests you and garners a large number of views on the web.
Good English Skills
Writers need to be able to create work that does not need to be edited to be presentable. With the swift publication speed for most sites on the Internet, the ability for a writer to self-edit can make the difference between being hired or declined for a position.
There is only one way to gain this skill, through dedicated practice and studying the rules of language. Most successful writers have gone to college and have decades of experience in handling the English language. Keep practicing, and you will rise to their levels in due time.
A Workable Rate
Some writers try to make a living working for a few pennies per word. That does not work, since the amount of material that needs to be produced in order to achieve a livable wage is staggering. Instead, look at your finances and multiple it by 1.5. Divide this by the number of hours you can work per month, and then divide that by the number of words you can realistically type in an hour. This gives you your per-word rate.
Never work below this rate, even on a trial basis. Otherwise, you are creating an expectation that you will work for less than you need and place yourself in a position of hammering out large volumes of content at the expense of your health and family life. The 150% accounts for unpredictable income periods, allowing for you to put money back into savings.
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